bengali love poetry [bangla premer kabita / বাঙলা প্রেমের কবিতা)
Will not be easy.
Not in gentle whisperings, ear to ear.
I shall win you -
Your hesitation, your doubts -
With clear force of strength
Out of uncertainty, out of shame, out of doubt,
Into the unforgiving clarity of light.
kAler JAtrAr dhvani shunite ki pAoThis poem appears in Shesher kabitA. The storyline is ultramodern - the lovers amita and lAbanya decide to stay apart so that the daily grind of life does not dilute their love. This poem is amita's farewell to vaNyA.
Hush! Listen to the wheels of Time -
his chariot rushes invisible
pulsating in the heart of eternity
crushing underwheel the despairing blackness
from whose fractured heart
spring stars like teardrops.
O my friend,
that onrush of Time
ensnared and lifted me onto his chariot
on the path of reckless adventure
far, far from you
far - whirling beyond countless deaths
far - to this sunrise-kissed mountainpeak
and behind us, flapping in the wind
trailing in the vortex of the chariot
traces of my name, me, myself.
across the path of no return
if you catch a glimpse from afar
you will know me not.
Farewell, my friend, farewell.
One day when at leisure,
spring wind in your hair,
a sigh rising from distant nights of despair --
the tears of the fallen lily will fracture the sky --
look for me then, stirring all that have endured
half unforgotten in a corner of your soul.
Trace me in your tears --
Will it then illuminate?
Will it bring some joy?
Will it appear as a nameless dream?
But no, dream this is not,
it is the truest of all my truths
this that I leave for you is my love
this is my immutable offering
I leave this behind
while life carries me on
along the streams of change
wheeling with the flow of time.
O friend, Farewell.
Seek not to count your loss
when from earthen clay you can create
a deity ethereal -- let us celebrate
with a votive evening dance - an Aarati
a play of prayer
where dust from my daily touch
will not sully
flowers from my heaped prayer plate
will not fall.
At this feast of the soul we shall set
the table with our languid dreams
athirst for expression. In it I shall not mix
the gold hidden within my dust
that which is wet from my tears.
Perhaps even today you will create
out of my unborn fate
dreamlike words -- consonants
weightless, timeless they will not dwell --
O friend, farewell!
Grieve not for me today.
I have my work, I have my universe.
my cup is far from empty
and new tasks keep coming . . .
But in life's ups and downs
if there is someone
awaiting eagerly my return --
how fulfilling it is.
She who brings me the rajanigandhA
to adorn my votive plate
she who looks on me in tender compassion
mixed bundle of good, bad and indifferent
for her I shall offer myself
as the sacrifice in today's prayer.
That which I have given you already
is yours unrestrained
now my gift of trifles
I offer to you from my heart
add them to your ineffable wealth.
Let it be known that
that which I had given you
was in truth your gift to me --
the more you have taken
the more you have left me in debt.
Farewell, my friend, farewell!
From shesher kabitA[At one point, amita and Lilly are sitting side by side on the bank of the ganges, and the moon is setting on the other side. p.11-12]
Amita: The moon across the ganges, and you and I on this side -- in the infinitude of time such an eventuality will never come again.
Lily: But that frog that jumped, that will also not happen again...
Amita: Oh but there is a vast difference! The frog jumping is a random event, whereas you and I, the moon, the river, the starry sky - have all orchestrated a delightful creation, a moonlight sonata! It is as if there is a lunatic jeweler at some heavenly forge who just created this unparalleled jewel-encrusted ring -- and then immediately threw it into the infinite ocean...
Lily: That is fine then - you didn't have to pay for his labour!
Amita: But imagine, Lily, that aeons later we are standing by some forests edge in some remote planet in this universe, and like the ring from the fishes stomach in Shakuntala, this moment were to reappear before us... what would you do?
Lily: I would throw it back into the ocean! amita - who knows how many such creations of the mad jeweller have you thrown away and forgotten!
Namita ChoudhuryNamita Choudhury is a poet from the 70's generation of authors. These are taken from a number of her books.
Are you hungry? Why not eat then?
No. I am not hungry.
Who can be hungry
A whole bowl of moonshine?
Endless white night
Sheets my terrace sky
And the moon comes
To gouge out my eye.
Put in the stone eyeball --
Scalpel, scissors, sutures
All in order
Except for me, myself.
A fool, I sit unbathed, undressed
Bowl in hand
Waiting only for my first sip
Then, I will put my life on hold
And scrape the dried dregs of moonshine
Crust by crust.
A love poem (ekaTi premer kabitA)
Tonight my determination
Penetrated you - end to end -
Again and again.
I can't tell why this happens
Some days I go from one village to another
Beating my message on the drums --
Like the rose that leaves its prick
A brown stain on the palm.
See how close I am tonight?
How naked? How mad?
Twenty-First century romance
ekaviMsha shatAbdIteI shall go on a secret tryst
I have adorned myself
With swords and scimitars
And a single carnation.
I shall go now
To my secret lover
Asleep in his secret bower
With his secret claws-teeth-jaws.
From one end of me
To the other
He will claw me in dance
And then he will devour
All of me, eyes, flesh, heart
Licking up the last dregs.
All this I know
Yet I cannot turn back.
I cannot fly
I cannot swim
Walk this path I must.
Translations by amit mukerjee and kadambari sen